Many shoppers slip and fall in Walmart stores each year, often suffering serious and costly injuries. Walmarts are expansive stores with many aisles, sections, and employees. While employees should regularly inspect the store for possible fall hazards, this does not always happen. Unsuspecting customers can suddenly end up on the ground with injuries, leading to medical bills and other losses. If you’re injured in a slip-and-fall accident at Walmart, report the incident immediately. A skilled slip-and-fall attorney in Spring Hill can help you claim and receive compensation for your injuries.
Some common slip and fall risks at Walmart include:
- Spills and wet floors – Accidental spills from products or liquids can create slippery surfaces if Walmart employees do not promptly clean up or mark the area with warning signs.
- Cleaning and maintenance – Floor cleaning or maintenance activities can temporarily create slippery conditions if employees do not take proper cautionary measures.
- Uneven surfaces – Damaged or uneven flooring, loose tiles, or loose floor mats can pose tripping hazards.
- Weather conditions – During rainy or snowy weather, customers can track water and snow into the store, creating slippery conditions near entrances.
- Poor lighting – Inadequate lighting can make it difficult for shoppers to see potential hazards on the floor.
- Debris and items on the floor – If displays protrude into walkways or employees fail to pick up items or trash from the ground, customers can slip or trip.
Walmart should properly maintain the premises for accident prevention. When you suffer injuries because Walmart fails to inspect or maintain areas of the store, the corporation should be responsible for all your medical bills and losses.
Unfortunately, despite its deep pockets, Walmart rarely cooperates with customers who file personal injury claims. You might think you can follow basic accident protocols and get the compensation you deserve, but this is rarely true.
You must hire a slip and fall attorney immediately following a Walmart accident. The company is notoriously difficult regarding slip and fall claims, so you need the right legal representation.
Walmart Is a Massive Company
Walmart is the largest employer in America: 1.6 million people work in Walmart stores, just in the United States. The company makes nearly $150 billion annually in profits from revenue of over $600 billion. Roughly 95 percent of Americans spend money at Walmart each year.
It follows that the company has a large legal budget to protect against liability. The company has both its in-house lawyers and works with outside defense firms. Walmart also has insurance providers dedicated to the corporation, which work to reduce liability for Walmart whenever possible. If you file a slip and fall claim against Walmart, you can assume it will not be an easy process.
You need a law firm that is unafraid to stand up to major corporations like Walmart. Seek a free consultation with an attorney to learn if they have the experience and resources necessary to handle a Walmart slip and fall claim. Never speak to insurance adjusters or any Walmart representatives about your injuries without the right legal representation.
Proving Your Slip and Fall Claim
In any slip and fall case, you are the one who needs to show that the defendant did something wrong. It is not easy to do this in any case, especially when you do not have an attorney.
The legal standard in your case is negligence. Walmart owes you the duty of care because they open their store to you as a business. They must act reasonably under the circumstances.
They must warn you of any hidden dangers that you may face. In addition:
- Walmart employees cannot create dangerous conditions in their stores that injure you, such as leaving something in the middle of an aisle.
- Store employees must remedy a dangerous condition they did not create within a reasonable amount of time after they knew or should have known of it. This rule applies to things like spills in an aisle.
You must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. If Walmart sees that you lack the evidence backing your case, they will not pay you.
A Camera May Have Recorded Your Accident, and Your Lawyer Can Get the Footage
Walmart’s sheer size can work in your favor in a slip and fall case. Each store has a video camera system for security, and these cameras often catch every area of the store. If you have suffered an injury in an accident, you can go to the video to prove what happened.
However, it is not as simple as just asking for the footage. Walmart knows that the footage can make the difference in your case, and the store is not about to just give it to you.
A defendant has a legal obligation to turn over evidence that it has in its possession, but that does not happen until the discovery phase of a case. You may not get your hands on the footage that can make or break your case until then.
Walmart may not even retain the footage you need to prove your case. The store is not legally obligated to maintain any records or footage (like a trucking company will if you suffered an injury in a truck accident).
You must move quickly to direct the store to preserve the evidence in anticipation of possible litigation. This direction needs to happen shortly after the accident to keep footage from conveniently “disappearing.”
When you hire a slip and fall accident attorney, they will quickly move to contact Walmart to tell them to preserve the video. This way, if something happens to that footage, Walmart can be in trouble if your case goes to court.
Walmart Will Also Review its Camera Footage
Just like you can get your hands on the security camera footage, Walmart will also look back at what happened when they see your lawsuit. Company representatives will know they should settle your case when they see they did something wrong. Walmart is as smart as a corporation, and they know what to do to protect themselves.
The store can see within days that it has a potential legal problem. However, it does not mean Walmart is lining up to give you money. They will make you work for it. If you do not have a tough slip and fall accident attorney, Walmart may not be forthcoming. They must see that you have muscle behind you to fear what you can do.
Your Lawyer Can Gather Other Evidence to Prove Your Case
Video camera footage is a powerful way to prove that Walmart was negligent.
Other pieces of evidence can be helpful in your slip and fall accident case, including:
- Witness testimony from people who saw either your accident or what the area looked like in the time before you fell
- Pictures of the scene of the accident after you fell (if someone took them at the scene before Walmart cleaned up the hazard that caused your fall)
- Maintenance and inspection logs that show when store employees cleaned an area, what they saw, and what they did in response
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert who will give their opinion of what happened
You can expect that Walmart will go into damage control mode as soon as possible after your accident. They may have an internal accident report that they will not want to show that they are to blame for your slip and fall injuries. They know that you can get your hands on the paper records and use them in your case when you obtain them in discovery.
You Need to Fight Hard for Every Dollar that You Get
When Walmart makes you a settlement offer, it is a step in the right direction, but it is not a victory by any means.
Like any slip and fall case, the defendant will do everything possible to minimize your injuries. They will claim it was just a fall, and it could not have hurt as much as you claim. They know otherwise because they have seen the video, but they will do everything possible to make the legal process difficult.
Nothing comes easy in a slip and fall case. You may get a settlement offer for pennies on the dollar. Defendants view cases where they settle a claim for much less than it is worth to be a big win for them. Your situation does not matter to them. You are simply someone coming for their money they do not want to pay.
Your Attorney Needs to Provide Evidence of Your Medical Condition
Even a security video may not tell the whole story of your physical condition. For example, if you suffer a head or neck injury in the fall, the footage may only show that you fell at an awkward angle. If you hit your head, the severity of the injury cannot be known just from looking at the fall itself.
Here are some serious injuries that you can suffer in a fall in a Walmart store:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Neck and back injuries (such as slipped or herniated discs)
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Contusions and cuts
Once you have the necessary evidence to prove your case, you must demonstrate your injuries’ severity. Your financial compensation stems directly from the extent of your injuries. The severity of your condition should be evident in your medical records and the documentation of your injuries. However, Walmart’s insurers can still question and doubt the seriousness of your pain and suffering to reduce your settlement.
An attorney will help build the file you need to complete your claim and prove your losses. They may also work with a medical expert if an opinion about the full extent of your injuries is necessary.
An Attorney Works Hard to Get You More Money
A settlement offer is just the opening step in the negotiation process. In most cases, Walmart does not expect you to take the first offer you receive (or even the second or third). They may try to wear you down or get you to take less than you deserve.
The first key function that your lawyer performs is to come up with a value for your case. They use their knowledge and experience to estimate your total damages. If necessary, they can work with an expert witness to review certain parts of your case.
An Attorney Represents You When Dealing with Walmart
Once you know your case worth, you will be less likely to accept a fraction of what you deserve. You will know that a settlement offer is too low. In that case, the thing for you to do is say no.
An attorney knows the time-honored game plaintiffs and defendants play in settlement negotiations. They know an opening settlement offer is more of a placeholder than a serious attempt to settle your case.
It can be intimidating to deal with such a large company. You may be afraid of the legal might that Walmart appears to have. However, everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. All Walmart has is money, and lots of it. Money does not buy a favorable outcome when the facts and laws are on your side.
An Attorney Levels the Playing Field Between You and Walmart
You will still be weaker in any claim or litigation without a lawyer. You cannot prove the facts or argue based on the law. Your attorney places you on an equal footing with such a large company. They will be the ones who gather the proof that you need to submit a credible claim or file a persuasive lawsuit.
All of Walmart’s attorneys can do nothing when you have a solid case. On the flip side, you have the confidence that you can hold out in settlement negotiations to get what you deserve.
If you have a case, the prospect of going in front of a jury is actually something that can work in your favor. Then, your lawyer will present the evidence they have gathered that proves your case.